RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Martin Popoff – Rush: Album by Album
Voyageur Press

Rating: A

Martin Popoff has twice tackled the topic of the complex, goofy, rocking, not-rocking-any-longer-as-we-now-love-keyboards band Rush.  Those books rock.  He was a part of that one huge-ass documentary done on the band as well.  Hell, this guy is even Canadian, eh! Authentic, right? So why not… Why shouldn’t Mighty Marty be the book writin’ expert on the band Rush?  He’s a drummer like Neil Peart, he’s nerdy like Geddy Lee and he knows his rock ‘n’ roll like Alex Lifeson. Marty fits right in with this north of the border bunch.

Mr. Popoff is now back for a third swing at Rush with the book titled Rush: Album by Album. This time, just to make sure there is no redundancy, Popoff elected to invite some cool dudes over for a few suds and talk Rush.  Okay… he did a butt-load of phone interviews and pieced them together, but believe me, this sucker comes off as it is just a bunch of Rush geeks doing what they do… debating Rush albums!  The ‘geeks’ however, turn out to be some pretty famous peeps including Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) and  Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs).  When Martin gets into a pinch where the famous rockers prove they had better things to do than just analyze all Rush albums while they were growing up stoned, Popoff leans on guys and girls that didn’t have anything better to do!  They include Rush historians and uber-fans such as Eddy Maxwell (founder of RushCon) and Douglas Maher along with journalists and authors such as Jeff Wagner, Ralph Chapman and Robert Telleria.  The result is a Rush-fest where each album is discussed in detail.  From the songs, to the performances, to the album covers, to the gear, to whether or not Peart overplays, if Alex is underrated and if Geddy can really sing.  To say these discussions are fun is an understatement.

It is not just the words that make this such a winner. The book layout is killer with loads of rare pics of the band, as well as photographs of cool ass memorabilia and album art.  Martin starts with the 1974 self-titled debut and keeps going through their latest studio effort Clockwork Angels. The cast of characters changes for each chapter/album keeping the conversation fresh.

The subject matter, the format, the layout and the expertise in this sucker are all top notch.  The only thing that would make this one better would be to have the three dudes who made this shit up included.   Oddly enough, they are not actually missed.  There is more than enough here to keep one busy without having to be distracted by the actual artist.

Popoff has done it again!

If you love Rush, or you love early Rush, but hate late Rush, or you love the 1980s keyboard Rush, or you think Moving Pictures is the best thing since sliced bread, or you think Moving Pictures was a sell-out album or you love/hate Geddy’s voice, or you love/hate Peart’s endless fills, or you  love/hate when Alex quit playing solos… if it is Rush-related and you love/hate it… this book is for you!

Each hemisphere of Rush is dissected… to a true fans absolute delight.  Pick this one up, put on “Working Man” and realize why you hate Vapor Trails so much… (that album title has always reminded me of a fart that follows).

From the self-titled debut, Rush to the band’s most recent studio album Clockwork Angels, every album is covered in-depth. The conversations cover everything about each Rush album – music, lyrics, performances, cover artwork, critical and fan reception plus so much more!

By Jeb “Flying by Night” Wright